Court takes up govt plea for appointment of Jadhav lawyer on Aug 3

Updated 31 Jul 2020

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Govt is seeking app­ointment of state counsel for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jad­hav to implement ICJ verdict regarding his conviction. — DawnNewsTV/File
Govt is seeking app­ointment of state counsel for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jad­hav to implement ICJ verdict regarding his conviction. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has fixed the hearing of a petition filed by the Pakistani government for seeking permission to appoint counsel for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav on Aug 3, the first working day after Eidul Azha vacations.

According to the supplementary list of the cases fixed before the IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, the bench would hear the petition at 1:30pm on Monday. The registrar’s office has intimated the ministry of law and justice and the additional attorney general, who has filed the petition.

The ministry is seeking app­ointment of state counsel for Jad­hav to implement the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding his conviction.

The petition has cited the secretary of the ministry of defence and the judge advocate general at the General Headquarters as respondents.

According to the petition, on March 3, 2016, an officer of the Indian navy, commander Jadhav illegally entered Pakistan and was arrested during an intelligence operation from Mashkel in Balochistan.

He confessed to his association with the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, and involvement in espionage and terror activities in different parts of Balochistan and Sindh and was awarded death sentence by a military court.

The Pakistani government this week laid the ICJ (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance 2020 before the National Assembly aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the ICJ verdict.

The ordinance had been promulgated by the government in May. Under the ordinance, Pakistan invited India to move a review and reconsideration petition before the IHC against the conviction of Jadhav by a military court.

The invitation was extended to the Indian government after Commander Jadhav twice declined to take advantage of the law, saying that sympathetic consideration should be given to his mercy petition pending with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Section 2 of the ordinance empowers the high court to review and reconsider any ICJ decision in relation to a foreign national in respect of rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations of April 24, 1963.

In the petition, the law ministry has said that the commander Jadhav has refused to engage a lawyer for himself and to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction and he “does not have independent means nor does he possesses the capability to engage and instruct a lawyer in Pakistan without assistance from his own country i.e. India which is avoiding the remedy made available by the federation under the ordinance”.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2020